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A second concert, at St John's, Smith Square, London, featured Stanev with the RTÉ Vanburgh Quartet on 25 March.

The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet. Photo: Keith Saunders
The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet. Photo: Keith Saunders

A group of eight Chopin Waltzes was frankly disappointing -- too fleeting overall, with four-square rhythms resulting in misplaced accents and heavy touch spoiling any feeling for poetic values. Brahms' final String Quartet in B flat major Op 67 was a strange 'bed-fellow' during the concert's first half. The composer's series of 'off-beat' measures nearly played havoc with the first violinist's articulation and general ensemble in the opening movement. Once settled, the remainder had some lovely touches, particularly in the viola-cello range. Schumann's ever-popular Piano Quintet made true amends in a performance of effervescent beauty and stunning virtuosity.

The most welcome dinner at Simpsons in the Strand that followed was an unexpected reminder of the splendid and superbly cooked food cum presentation luxuries missing from yours truly's lifestyle during the past thirty years -- but I am supposed to keep this quietly to myself for fear of showing any lack of good breeding!

I had the further greatest pleasure of being seated next to two gentlemen-executives who ensure that the Arts Entertainment Industry together with the finest participants who lend lustre to the cause, gains its fullest means of support. Wolfgang M Burgett is Managing Director and Member of the Board of Directors for 2+2+2 Recording Marketing AG at Hinter den Gärten 7a, CH-4452 Itingen (Basel-Land). You most probably know of DIVOX Ltd, the Chamber-music dedicated label. Daniel Haener is Head of Presence, Switzerland & Cultural Division at the Embassy of Switzerland in London. He, like me, has the appearance of never wishing to actually grow up. Every happening from 1850 through to the present day becomes part of his personal orbit! On 3 May next, the Vega Trio at the Wigmore is one of his babies! Last, and not least, my old friend Denise Kantor -- representing the Vanburghs -- was seated centrally at our long table keeping a wary eye on me, so I did really try to behave myself!

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Copyright © 8 April 2004 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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